Review: The Qube from Matrix Audio
Filed in the better late than never category comes the Qube, the universal pocket speaker from Matrix Audio. Over the past few months (you heard me correctly–I said months, not weeks or even days) I’ve been testing this speaker against an array of portable mini speakers. When I received the Qube, I had wondered how it would compare in the sound department. Suffice to say I was not disappointed. It has become my go-to solo speaker whether in or away from my home office. Over this period of time, I’ve been impressed with not only the sound but its consistency to reproduce that sound months later. No lemons here.
The first thing one notices is how stunning the speaker looks. It’s a well-manufactured beautifully-crafted piece of equipment. It’s sharp looking in its black aluminum finish (available in two other colors: silver and red, see photos) but it’s also sturdy and has some weight to it, 78 grams to be specific. Now, not only is the speaker sturdy, but the packaging is as well. To this day, this packaging, even after a few months, is where I store the Qube when not in use. If you choose to discard it, don’t forget the packaging is 100% recyclable which is important to so many of us.
The speaker is aptly named as a universal pocket speaker. It’s 38mm in each axis thus the name Qube. One can easily and comfortably carry it around in their pocket; I’m not just saying that. It fits well whether in ones pants or shorts front pocket. If you’re afraid it may get scratched, use the ultra-suede carrying pouch and transport it in your purse or satchel. It takes up so little volume that you actually may forget that it’s there. The design is straight forward. On the back side, there’s an On/Off button as well as a micro USB connection. Simply hold down the power button for a few seconds and a blue LED activates, and then you’re good-to-go. To shut it down, use the same method until the blue light deactivates. There’s no volume slider, but then again, what’s the point of having one. Whatever device you connect the Qube to i.e. laptop, smartphone, etc. has volume control so no need for redundancy.
So you ask…how does its 3 watts of audio sound? Pretty good in fact. For sound testing, I use the same 4-5 artists for consistency while constantly plugging and unplugging various speakers for comparisons sake. These artists are 30 Seconds to Mars, John Coltrane, Lana Del Ray, Muse, and now Zedd. Testing the latter first, the Qube was strong and clean in vocals and higher frequency mid-ranges while a bit short in the bass area, which didn’t surprise me base don its design. In testing similar sized speakers, the opposite is true: more boom in the bass and weaker in the vocals. Now we all have different tastes but I’m willing to sacrifice some bass for tighter vocals. And if you need a second opinion, watch what happens with those collapsible portable speakers at mid-to-high volume while listening to say Lana Del Ray’s title track Born to Die. The speaker hops around like one of those novelty Mexican jumping beans. I can’t tell how often those other speakers jumped off my desk and shelves. Thanks to the heft and low center of gravity, there’s no stage diving for the Qube. That last thing I want is a kamikaze speaker. Call me crazy but I would like to use it again. (In case you’re wondering LDR sounded amazing.) Of all the music genres sampled, I’d say Jazz sounded best with Coltrane’s sax on Lazy Bird sounding dynamite, closely followed by the sounds of Muse and LDR.
If you’re looking to purchase the Qube but don’t see it in your favorite online or retail store, you need not look any further than the manufacturer’s website: www.matrixaudio.com. It retails for the price of $49.99. If the Qube isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, Matrix Audio has recently introduced the Qube 2, a universal Bluetooth portable speaker which retails for $79.99. Also available from MA is the NRG which lists for $29.99 and the ONE for $69.99.